After my last slightly uncomfortable encounter I found myself approaching another busker today. Rob had a reasonable crowd of people that had gathered to watch him so I guess in a sense for this encounter I did too.
Rob was extremely good and I sat and listened to several songs before I thought about approaching him. This was nothing to do with delaying, it was quite simple … he was very good, it was sunny and pleasant, and I was enjoying sitting there listening to him. Rob played a variety of stuff not all of which I recognised but Bryan Adams Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman is the one I remember (my wife will be so proud of me).
After a while I stood up to go across to him but at this point a friend of his started to talk to him so I sat back down and listened to another song then at the moment he finished that song I stood up immediately and went across to him before someone else did. As expected Rob had no problem with me photographing him but I explained about the project and handed him my 100 Strangers business card and also explained that after I had taken a few shots with my zoom lens I would like to put a different lens on and get right in his face – he said this was fine and he was used to it.
Rob also made sure that I knew what his Facebook page was and asked me to post any photos I took on his wall – I will be happy to do this but in addition (and he did not ask me to do this) I will link to his page from here – Monument Busker.
As I stepped back to let him get on with his next song Rob asked me “is that an Inverness accent that I can detect“. This may seem trivial but it absolutely floored me, my accent is not particularly strong and it is not uncommon for people to not even realise that I am Scottish so for someone to pinpoint exactly where my accent comes from is pretty amazing. He couldn’t tell me what gave it away but apparently he used to go out with a girl from Inverness and he also studied linguistics which I guess helps him to focus on the detail and peculiarities in people’s accents.
I took quite a few photographs of Rob during his song and did switch to my 35mm prime lens but not sure I actually got that close in the end – I squeezed between him and his collecting case but I was loathe to risk getting too close and actually interfering with his guitar play.
I spoke to Rob again after he had finished his song and learned that he is originally from Wiltshire but has lived in Byker (Newcastle) for the last 10 years. He likes to busk whenever he has time and its sunny – I can understand that, it really was very pleasant sitting there listening to him today. He also mentioned a few monetary figures which I won’t repeat here but suffice to say I’m in the wrong job ;).
I guess I’m playing it a bit safe with my last two encounters approaching people that are used to performing in public and inevitably get loads of pictures taken and published with or without their consent but nonetheless I really enjoyed today’s encounter and if I spot Rob again I will have no hesitation going to say hello.
Today’s technical musings: my focus was a bit off – for some reason the focus is on Rob’s right eye when his left one would have been the choice and moreover I didn’t take any shots with the triptych in mind so his left hand is soft because I at no point tried to focus on it – however I still like the end result and will start thinking about getting a bit more creative now I’m getting much more comfortable with the social aspect.
Rob, thanks for taking part in my project – you gave me a lot more time than I expected given the number of people watching which was great – so thanks again and I hope you like the picture.
This picture is #9 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page